After a particularly harsh digital imaging class, I took my sophomore year of high school, I found that my passion to create art had vanished. I was disturbed by the subjectivity of the course. The idea that I was being graded on something that I created based on the likings of a teacher was unsettling to me. I found that art in education has become systemically structured and does not allow one to truly channel themselves into their pieces as people tend to focus more on the grade than the creation. However, this year I became re-inspired to create again. And this is how I did it.

Water-colored lipsBy and photographed by: me

After the digital imaging fiasco, I was particularly uninterested in the idea of taking an art class. However, at the University of Southern California, the school requires that all freshman take a seminar. I bravely chose to take a seminar of the arts (as I needed to complete that GE). It was called looking at language, so I thought it would be more of a literature/linguistics-based class. However, after the first project, I was soon to be proven very wrong. This class was about pushing your boundaries as a creator and making visual art that is outside of your comfort zone. Our professor would encourage us to try new things and go beyond what would we have done before. I chose to dip my toes back into the realm of Photoshop and drawing. This is a massive step for me as I had previously lost my confidence in my own abilities of these skills. However, when I sat down, looked at my laptop, and opened up Photoshop again it was like an awakening of my passion. I did not think about the grade nor did I think about how others would perceive what I created, instead I just thought about what I thought looked aesthetically pleasing. When I focused on a color scheme that was pleasing to my eye, a design that looked and felt correct to me, and a composition that I enjoyed, I found that my piece came together into something that was better than anything I had created before.

My proudest creation: photoshop edition

Instead of focusing on the outcome, I focused on the process of creating. Every night I would listen to music, sit in my bed and go at it on Photoshop. This work ethic was very difficult and time-consuming, but I found that I thoroughly enjoyed it. My advice to anyone that has lost inspiration to create because of school or structure or grades is to forget about the consequences and enjoy the process of what you are doing when you are doing it. Loosen up, open your mind, and remember anything that you do is for the betterment of yourself and for your own character. In order to stress my work process and the fact that I truly enjoyed what I had created, I talked to my professor one on one. I found that this personal dialogue was incredibly beneficial for us both. She understood why I created what I did, and I understood that not all teachers or professors are out there to give you a bad grade or are not be open-minded. You too have to open your mind to what their thoughts are, take their constructive criticism, but in the end understand that if you are happy with what you have done and what you have created, the grade simply does not matter. It is the work process and the aesthetic of the creation that truly is important.

A mix of hand-work and digital work